Home » Uncategorized » How To Eat To Live: What’s Up With This Vegan Stuff?

How To Eat To Live: What’s Up With This Vegan Stuff?

how to eat to live

Soundtrack: Boogie Down Productions “Beef”

I have a lot of friends who have various “healthy” ways of eating. I don’t think I can go anywhere in my social circle without hearing about something that people shouldn’t eat or some new thing that people should eat. Whether I like it or not, I know all about gluten sensitivity and alkaline foods and superfoods and liquid fasts and such. I know that most people don’t have these things on their mind all the time. However, maybe they should.

Most people in the United States eat what is referred to as the Standard American Diet. Fittingly, when it comes to health standards, most people in this country are SAD.

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

The numbers look a lot worse for my community.

African American adults are nearly 1.5 times as likely to be obese compared with White adults. Approximately 47.8 percent of African Americans are obese (including 37.1 percent of men and 56.6 percent of women) compared with 32.6 percent of Whites (including 32.4 percent of men and 32.8 percent of women). More than 75 percent of African Americans are overweight or obese (including 69 percent of men and 82.0 percent of women) compared with 67.2 percent of Whites (including 71.4 percent of men and 63.2 percent of women).

Overweight and obesity rates also tend to be higher among African American children compared with White children, with obesity rates increasing faster at earlier ages and with higher rates of severe obesity. From 1999 to 2012, 35.1 percent of African American children ages 2 to 19 were overweight, compared with 28.5 percent of White children; and 20.2 percent were obese compared with 14.3 percent of White children.

The good old internet is providing us with plenty of ideas about how to change all of this. One of the popular things floating around is the idea of having an alkaline based diet. That means eating foods that are alkaline on the pH scale instead of acidic, thereby making the whole body alkaline and less likely to be a hospitable environment for dis-ease. I don’t think I have space in this article to really get into that topic. Suffice it to say that the human body is designed to keep pH steady, and levels vary throughout the body. Your blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Your stomach is very acidic, with a pH of 3.5 or below, so it can break down food. And your urine changes, depending on what you eat – that’s how your body keeps the level in your blood steady.

The biggest diet trend going around the internet these days is veganism. For anyone who is unfamiliar, a vegan diet is one that completely avoids animal products. That includes no dairy products, no milk or cheese or eggs. That’s different from a vegetarian diet which is strictly about avoiding meat but still allows other products from animals.

Many people feel like vegans have become a bit nazi-esque in how they promote their diet. It’s easy to find examples of people who are mean spirited in how they promote having a vegan diet. They talk about people who eat meat in a way that resembles how you might deal with a complete idiot or an ax murderer. That is what inspired this topic. The vegan propaganda has reached such a fever pitch that I decided it worthwhile to dig into this topic and see what is the best alternative to the sad Standard American Diet.

I won’t go into the environmental reasons for going vegan even though that is a very important subject. The raising of animals for food on an industrial scale is having a very adverse effect on the earth’s ecosystem and we should definitely be concerned about that. But this article is about health claims.

The vegansociety.com website says this:

“More and more people are turning to a vegan diet for the health benefits: increased energy, younger looking skin and eternal youth are just some of the claims from enthusiastic plant eaters. Well, eternal youth might be a bit optimistic, but there are certainly many scientifically proven benefits to vegan living when compared to the average western diet.

“Well-planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. The plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, helping mitigate some of the modern world’s biggest health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. For more information on living a healthy, vegan life, check out our nutrition section.” 

Ok, I changed my mind. Let’s talk about environmentalism. The vegan story doesn’t really start with seeking a healthy diet. It starts with concerns about the treatment of animals and the environment.

The word vegetarian is probably an English or American invention of the late 1830s. In 1847, an organization was formed called The Vegetarian Society. Its stated aims were:

“[To] induce habits of abstinence from the flesh of animals as food…proving the many advantages of a physical, intellectual, and moral character resulting from vegetarian habits of diet; and thus to secure…the adoption of a principle which will tend essentially to the increase of human happiness generally.”

Almost a hundred years later, there were rumblings among many vegetarians that their philosophy wasn’t going far enough. They didn’t like the fact that most of their vegetarian brethren ate eggs and drank milk. In November 1944, a gentleman named Donald Watson called a meeting with five other non-dairy vegetarians, including Elsie Shrigley, to discuss non-dairy vegetarian diets and lifestyles. Though many held similar views at the time, these six pioneers were the first to actively found a new movement – despite opposition. The group felt a new word was required to describe them; something more concise than ‘non-dairy vegetarians’. Rejected words included ‘dairyban’, ‘vitan’, and ‘benevore’. They settled on ‘vegan’, containing the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’. In the words of Donald Watson, it marked “the beginning and end of vegetarian.”

Most people who are vegans today are completely unaware of this history, however this is the origin of their way of life. The first manifesto from the newly formed Vegan Society in 1944 stated:

“The Vegan Society seeks to abolish man’s dependence on animals, with its inevitable cruelty and slaughter, and to create instead a more reasonable and humane order of society.”

Donald Watson posited that “our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of [nonhuman] animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of [human] slaves”. Obviously this group felt very strongly about their cause. They were highly motivated to find every possible means of convincing other people to join their cause. As admirable as that may be, once we start getting into the realm of health and science, that zeal becomes dangerous. The first rule of good scientific research is that you must suspend your judgment until you have all the data that you need to draw conclusions. Going into the process of research already knowing what you hope to find will generally lead to you finding what you wanted, whether it is true or not. This is usually what we find with those who seek proof that a vegan diet is the healthiest option.

Two of the most popular sources of research that is used to support vegan diets are 1) the China-Cornell-Oxford Project and its corresponding book called The China Study and 2) the studies done at Loma Linda University owned by the Seventh-day Adventist religious group. I want to, as briefly as I can, examine the evidence these teams have offered for why being vegan is the healthiest diet option.

The China Study is a book by T. Colin Campbell, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. It was first published in the United States in January 2005 and had sold over one million copies as of October 2013, making it one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition.

The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel. The authors conclude that people who eat a whole-food, plant-based/vegan diet—avoiding all animal products, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates—will escape, reduce or reverse the development of numerous diseases. They write that “eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.”

They also recommend sunshine exposure or dietary supplements to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D, and supplements of vitamin B12 in case of complete avoidance of animal products. They criticize low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, which include restrictions on the percentage of calories derived from carbohydrates, which they say would reduce the benefits of complex carbohydrates. They are also critical of reductionist approaches to the study of nutrition, whereby certain nutrients are blamed for disease, as opposed to studying patterns of nutrition and the interactions between nutrients.

The book is loosely based on the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, a 20-year study – described by The New York Times as “the Grand Prix of epidemiology” – conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University and the University of Oxford. T. Colin Campbell was one of the study’s directors. It looked at mortality rates from cancer and other chronic diseases from 1973–75 in 65 counties in China; the data was correlated with 1983–84 dietary surveys and blood work from 100 people in each county. The research was conducted in those counties because they had genetically similar populations that tended, over generations, to live and eat in the same way in the same place. The study concluded that counties with a high consumption of animal-based foods in 1983–84 were more likely to have had higher death rates from “Western” diseases as of 1973–75, while the opposite was true for counties that ate more plant foods.

(Disclaimer: THIS is the 1788th word in this post. It would take me about 9000 more words to fully get into the statistics cited in The China Study and why the book does a poor job of drawing conclusions from the raw data. I will simply give a broad critique of the book and leave it up to you to go look into it further if you’re interested. I’m refraining as much as I can from sounding overly technical, but it’s difficult when dealing with this kind of subject matter.)

Campbell cherry picked the data from the study to support his conclusions and ignored the data that didn’t fit. Campbell presents evidence incriminating animal products as the cause of nearly every disease. He cites several health care practitioners, including Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. and Dr. Dean Ornish, who claim to have been able to reverse heart disease with plant-based diets, and cites the Papua New Guinea Highlanders as an example of a traditional society without the occurrence of heart disease.

Yet the pages of The China Study make no mention of George Mann’s and other researcher’s extensive study of the heart-healthy Masai or the healthy primitives of Weston Price, who relied extensively on fatty animal foods.

That the programs of Ornish and Esselstyn involved more than abstention from animal foods– especially the program of Ornish, of which diet is only a small part– is not seen as a confounding factor that detracts from our ability to incriminate animal foods in heart disease. Nor does he bother to mention the cannibalism or the swollen bellies of children that accompanies the protein-starved diet of the New Guinea highlands. In The China Study’s discussion of diabetes, Dr. Campbell concludes that “high-fiber, whole, plant-based foods protect against diabetes, and high-fat, high-protein, animal-based foods promote diabetes.” He discusses the possible role of cow’s milk (an animal food) in causing type one diabetes via an autoimmune reaction, but makes no mention that wheat gluten (a plant food) has been implicated in Type 1 diabetes by a similar process. He similarly fails to mention the role of fructose consumption (from plant foods) in causing insulin resistance, and the increase in high fructose corn syrup consumption that has paralleled the increase in diabetes.

Campbell discusses the suspected role of animal foods in causing prostate cancer, but makes no mention of the potent preventative role current research is attributing to vitamin A, a nutrient found in animal foods. He devotes 19 pages of The China Study to discussing the role of cow’s milk in causing autoimmune diseases, but zero pages to the role of wheat gluten in causing autoimmune diseases.

Campbell reiterates the myth that dietary fat and cholesterol contribute to Alzheimer’s and discusses the potential protective effects of plant foods, but makes no mention of the protective effect of DHA, an animal-based nutrient, that is currently being investigated and has been known about for years.

The China Study frequently ignores the contribution of animal foods to certain classes of nutrients, such as B vitamins and carotenes. Both classes of nutrients are assumed to come from plant foods, despite egg yolks and milk from pastured animals being a good source of carotenes, and the high B vitamin content of liver.

The most curious of such statements is one found on page 220, where Campbell declares, “Folic acid is a compound derived exclusively from plant-based foods such as green and leafy vegetables.” (My italics.) This is a fascinating statement, considering that chicken liver contains 5.76 mcg/g of folate, compared to 1.46 mcg/g for spinach. A cursory look through the USDA database reveals that the most folate-dense foods are organ meats.

The China Study contains many excellent points in its criticism of the health care system, the overemphasis on reductionism in nutritional research, the influence of industry on research, and the necessity of obtaining nutrients from foods. But its bias against animal products and in favor of veganism permeates every chapter and every page.

Less than a page of comments are spent in total discussing the harms of refined carbohydrate products. Campbell exercises caution when generalizing from casein to plant proteins, but freely generalizes from casein to animal protein. He entirely ignores the role of wheat gluten, a plant product, in autoimmune diseases, so he can emphasize the role of milk protein, an animal product. The book, while not entirely without value, is not about the China Study, nor is it a comprehensive look at the current state of health research. It would be more aptly titled, A Comprehensive Case for the Vegan Diet, and the reader should be cautioned that the evidence is selected, presented, and interpreted with the goal of making that case in mind.

Moving on.

A couple of weeks ago, March 16 2015, an article was posted on the Seventh-day Adventist website (http://news.adventist.org/all-news/news/go/2015-03-16/vegetarian-diet-cuts-risk-of-certain-cancer-adventist-study-finds/) with the headline “Vegetarian Diet Cuts Risk of Certain Cancer, Adventist Study Finds”.  I have to quote some of it:

A vegetarian diet may reduce your risk of certain kinds of cancer by 22 percent, according to a new analysis from the Adventist Health Study-2.

Researchers at Loma Linda University Health found that eating a plant-based diet offers significant protection against cancers of the colon and rectum, the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer.

The findings, published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine this week, are the first to emerge from the university’s multimillion-dollar Adventist Health Study-2 investigation that links diet to specific forms of cancer.

“The balance of scientific evidence seems to implicate red meat and processed meat as being linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer, whereas a diet rich in fiber — not fiber supplements — is linked with lower risk,” the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Michael Orlich, said Tuesday. “The vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and pescovegetarians in our study all avoid red and processed meat and eat an increased amount of a variety of whole plant foods.” 

The study, which tracked the food questionnaires and medical records of 77,659 Seventh-day Adventists over seven years, determined that vegetarians are 22 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancers than non-vegetarians.

Of those vegetarians, vegans were 16 percent less at risk of cancer, and lacto-ovo vegetarians, who eat milk and eggs, were 18 percent less at risk, although results for these groups did not achieve statistical significance.

The least at risk of the vegetarian groups were the pescovegetarians, or vegetarians who eat fish. They were 43 percent less likely to develop cancer. 

Dr. Gary Fraser, principal investigator for Adventist Health Studies-2 and a co-author of this week’s report, cautioned against interpreting the results as a message to eat more fish.

“The main message is to avoid all meats, as the main result was that all vegetarians as a group did better than the non-vegetarians,” Fraser said in an e-mail interview. “Thus from this paper alone what one can really say is that replacing meats with vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fruits will most likely decrease risk of colorectal cancer.”

The logic here mirrors the work of T. Colin Campbell. “Statistical significance” means that the correlation is high enough that it couldn’t possibly have come from mere chance. The results for the vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians were not statistically significant. The results for the fish eaters were very significant, at 43%. With those numbers in hand, these researchers jump all the way to the conclusion that there is a statistically significant correlation (22%) between being vegetarian and avoiding colorectal cancers. They had to lump in people who eat fish in order to achieve that number but then turn around and say this does not mean that eating fish is a good idea. There would be nothing to talk about here if we couldn’t claim the fish eaters as part of our team, but it’s not the fish that’s protecting against the cancer, it’s the veggies. C’mon, son!

This is a perfect illustration of the general pattern of those who claim that science supports the idea that being vegan is the healthiest diet option. They jump over logical hurdles that would make an Olympic champion proud. The raw data collected in the China-Cornell-Oxford Project is a goldmine of information. It allows us to see that there is no direct relationship between consuming meat or animal products and the most commonly occurring diseases. Where there appears to be correlation between animal proteins and disease risks in the study, there are always other variables like schistosomiasis infection, industrial work hazards, increased hepatitis B infection, and other non-nutritional factors spurring chronic conditions.

 There are plenty of people who have switched to a vegan diet and can report having wonderful improvements in their health. What usually doesn’t get talked about in these scenarios is that besides no longer eating animal products, these same people make complete lifestyle changes that support their health. Usually these people are avoiding added sugars and processed foods and they stop smoking and start exercising and doing yoga and thinking more positively and any number of other things that generally health conscious people do. It is impossible to determine which lifestyle change or set of changes is having the most positive effect; we definitely can’t assume that it’s only avoiding meat that is making them feel better.



group eat

Soundtrack: Jay-Z “Forever Young”

Now that we have determined that we can’t assume that being vegan is the most healthy way to eat, how should we eat? What evidence is available for a way of eating that really will lead to a longer and more healthy life?

 A centenarian is a person who is a hundred years old or more. There are some societies where people routinely live to be centenarians and are still healthy enough to move around and enjoy life. National Geographic sponsored a study of these societies and the team of people doing the study called these places Blue Zones. The study of these Blue Zones was designed to find out what they all had in common that led to their people living such long and productive lives. They came up with nine characteristics that they all share. I won’t get into all nine, we’ll just focus on the ones that have to do with diet.

PLANT SLANT: Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.  Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.

These diets also incorporate a lot of fresh vegetables, olive oil (or something  similar), fish, nuts, and whole grains. Notice that “meat” here, refers to land animals. 4 out of the 5 Blue Zones is an island or peninsula. These people are surrounded by fish and they eat fish often. Besides that they pretty much only eat what they grow out of the ground. You can’t find fast food restaurants and packaged junk food in these societies. They are almost completely devoid of processed foods. The term ‘processed food’ applies to any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience. That pretty much means anything made to be able to “last” in the store or any juice or milk that has been pasteurized.

It doesn’t take a lot of statistics to realize that if you eat the way centenarians eat then you’re probably doing it right. These people are not vegans or vegetarians, they don’t have any ideology about what they eat. They just eat what’s naturally found around them. Food comes out of the ground in abundance, almost everywhere on the Earth. You can plant a few seeds and end up with more vegetables than your whole family is able to eat. It is a lot more difficult to naturally shepherd enough cows or sheep to feed your family everyday. So natural eating means that meat is not going to be something you eat everyday, most definitely not multiple times everyday.

This is the way most human beings have evolved to eat over our millions of years in existence. A diet high in fruits and vegetables with an occasional serving of meat. As the centenarians in these Blue Zones show, (land) meat once a week is about right. Just as important as the types of food they eat is the fact that they grow their own food and eat it with minimal processing. They eat it the same way that it comes out of the ground.

WINE @ 5:
 People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly.  Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day, with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.

A lot of my religious friends hate to hear this but the facts is the facts. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.

It is important to stick to the dosage when it comes to drinking alcohol though. Anything more than 1-2 glasses in a day starts to have very negative effects on your health. The purpose is absolutely not to get drunk. This is about enjoying the company of your loved ones, relieving stress (which is also good for your health), and strengthening the heart. It’s possible that antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have heart-healthy benefits.

There is some evidence that red wine has even more heart-healthy benefits than do other types of alcohol, but it’s possible that red wine isn’t any better than beer, white wine or liquor for heart health. There’s still no clear proof that red wine is better. Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart.

80% RULE:  “Hara hachi bu”  – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in some Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day. Another approach is to not eat breakfast and to get most or all of the day’s food in one large, late afternoon meal.

A study done in 2013 found that diabetics got better results from one meal a day with red wine based on the Mediterranean diet than from a low-fat or low-carb diet spread over three meals per day.

The study, which is published in the journal PLoS ONE, sought to quantify the effects of certain diets on blood glucose, blood lipids, and other hormones in diabetics. Three diets were considered: a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet, and the Mediterranean diet –– a meal plan that emphasizes whole grains, legumes, fish, herbs, and nuts.

“We found that the low-carbohydrate diet increased blood glucose levels much less than the low-fat diet but that levels of triglycerides tended to be high compared to the low-fat diet,” the researchers wrote. “It is very interesting that the Mediterranean diet, without breakfast and with a massive lunch with wine, did not induce higher blood glucose levels than the low-fat diet lunch, despite such a large single meal.”

The results were derived from a randomized cross-over trial in which 21 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes tried all three diets in varying orders. During each test day, the researchers collected six separate blood samples from each subject.

According to co-author Fredrik Nyström, the study’s methodology recalls the original version of the much-praised diet. “[The outcome of the study] suggests that it is favorable to have a large meal instead of several smaller meals when you have diabetes, and it is surprising how often one today refers to the usefulness of the so-called Mediterranean diet but forgets that it also traditionally meant the absence of a breakfast,” he explained. “Our results give reason to reconsider both nutritional composition and meal arrangements for patients with diabetes.”

This last point of limiting the amount of times you eat or limiting the amount of calories you take in corresponds with another interesting set of studies. David A. Sinclair of the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School published a paper in 2005 that said this:

“The diet known as calorie restriction (CR) is the most reproducible way to extend the lifespan of mammals. Many of the early hypotheses to explain this effect were based on it being a passive alteration in metabolism. Yet, recent data from yeast, worms, flies, and mammals support the idea that CR is not simply a passive effect but an active, highly conserved stress response that evolved early in life’s history to increase an organism’s chance of surviving adversity. This perspective updates the evidence for and against the various hypotheses of CR, and concludes that many of them can be synthesized into a single, unifying hypothesis. This has important implications for how we might develop novel medicines that can harness these newly discovered innate mechanisms of disease resistance and survival.”

A paper from B.J. Merry of the University of Liverpool School of Biological Sciences published in 2002 said this:

Calorie-restricted feeding retards the rate of ageing in mammalian and invertebrate species. The molecular mechanisms underlying this effect include a lower rate of accrual of tissue oxidative damage that is associated with a significantly lower rate of mitochondrial free radical generation in rodent species. To identify the important sites of control and regulation for mitochondrial free radical generation during ageing and calorie-restricted feeding, metabolic control analysis is being applied to the study of mitochondrial bioenergetics. With ageing an increase in the mitochondrial proton leak is observed in mouse hepatocytes and in rat skeletal muscle. Limited data suggest that calorie-restricted feeding lowers the inner mitochondrial membrane potential and this may explain the reduced rate of free radical generation. A lowered unsaturation/saturation index is observed for mitochondrial membrane lipids in calorie-restricted rodents resulting in an altered membrane structure and function. Plasma concentrations of insulin and triiodothyronine are significantly lower under calorie-restricted feeding conditions and these hormones exert transcriptional control over desaturase enzymes that are important in the control of membrane lipid unsaturation. A loss of double bonds should make the mitochondrial membranes more resistant to peroxidation damage and would also reduce the proton conductance of the membrane, raising the membrane potential at a given respiration rate. This effect however, appears to be offset by other membrane changes that may include increased activity of uncoupling proteins. These unidentified adaptations increase the proton leak in calorie-restricted animals resulting in a lowering of the membrane potential and ROS generation.

All of that basically means that they have found that restricting the amount of calories you eat can slow down the processes within the body that cause aging. Whether you do this by limiting the amount you eat per meal or by limiting the amount of meals you eat, the Blue Zone studies show that the results appear to be the same.

So how do we summarize our findings about how to eat?

  • Eat what you can grow from the ground, mainly beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and the occasional meat. In a modern American context that means buying as much of your food as you possibly can from local growers, at the farmers market, organic. Develop a personal relationship with the people who grow your food and/or grow it yourself. If you don’t know exactly where your food came from then it is probably doing you harm in some kind of way.
  • Have a glass of wine or beer with your dinner. It’s good for your heart, literally and figuratively.
  • Don’t eat with the goal of staying full all of the time. Your body actually thrives on you being hungry for a certain amount of time everyday. How you want to approach that is up to you but keep the overall principle in mind.

Simple enough, right? One other aspect of diet shared by the Blue Zones is that they all eat their meals in groups. They are surrounded by friends and family when they eat. Meal time is a social bonding ritual. There are other characteristics of the Blue Zones but when it comes to eating, if you adopt these principles then you will definitely add to your life.

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